Monday, 28 April 2008

Satánico Pandemonium (1975)

Satánico Pandemonium is another slice of Mexican nunsploitation from the 70s brought to us by the good people at Mondo Macabro. It’s not as over-the-top as the marvellous Alucarda. In fact it’s surprisingly restrained and subtle in execution. There is gore, but it’s used sparingly and therefore it actually has an impact when it is used (if only a few other film-makers would learn this simple lesson). A young nun with a reputation for extreme piousness encounters a naked man in the woods. He turns out to be Lucifer, and he sets out to tempt her. His temptations include the pleasures of the flesh, but they also include power – he offers to secure for her the position of Mother Superior. She battles the temptations, but not very successfully, and soon finds herself caught up in events that are running out of control. The movie was helmed by veteran Mexican director Gilberto Martínez Solares, with a screenplay by his son Adolfo Martínez Solares. An interview with the latter is included as an extra, and he has some fascinating snippets of information about the filming, such as the fact that many of the nuns were actually played by prostitutes from a notorious brothel. Satánico Pandemonium is one of those movies that combines exploitation with some political critiques of society in general and the Church in particular, and it combines the two quite effectively. The actual meaning of the movie remains ambiguous, but I can’t say any more for fear of giving away spoilers. While it isn’t quite in the same class as Alucarda it’s still a great little piece of trash cinema and it’s lots of fun. It hardly needs to be added that Mondo Macabro have done another sensational job, the movie looks terrific, and there are some very worthwhile extras.

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